Summer Morrell from Chesterfield may have been just nine-months-old when she lost her life, but her happy, brave and bright little spirit was already shining through.
If anything is clear, the tot was deeply loved- most of all by parents Sharon and Darren, who are preparing to scale the UK’s highest mountain with the same determination their daughter exhibited throughout her short life.
The money they raise will go towards the vital Nightingale Ward at Chesterfield Royal Hospital where Summer, who had Down’s Syndrome, was cared for by ‘amazing’ staff.
Summer died in 2010 but it’s ‘all still a bit raw’ for Sharon, 40, who wanted to do something positive in her daughter’s memory.
She said: “Where to start describing Summer? She was just a happy little girl- very nosey, a bit of a budding curtain twitcher. She was a bubbly and content baby.
“Unfortunately, she was born with Down’s Syndrome which went undetected while I was pregnant.
“I say unfortunately, but time heals. Once the initial shock had passed we quickly adapted and looked forward to the rest of our lives with Summer. We never envisaged what was coming.”
At six weeks old, Summer had a heart scan at Chesterfield Royal which revealed the youngster had a hole in her heart.
She then underwent a nine hour operation to close the holes in Leeds and was closely monitored by Nightingale Ward staff over the next few months.
One Sunday morning, Sharon and Darren noticed Summer ‘wasn’t herself’ before they discovered a strange rash on her skin.
She was rushed back to the Nightingale Ward where she died the following day from endocartitis, an infection of the inner lining of the heart.
“We were devastated,” said Sharon. “I felt what you’d expect. Empty, angry.
“I saw nappy adverts on TV and prams being pushed all over town and kept thinking, why us?
“More than anything it was so isolating. I’d say to anyone out there grieving a child, talking is everything.
“Share your feelings, no matter what they are. Everyone is different.
“We didn’t have any counselling and in retrospect, probably would have benefited from it at the time.”
Summer would have turned 10 this year, celebrating the milestone with her little sisters, Sky, aged eight, and Star, aged one.
After losing her first child, Sharon suffered several miscarriages before she finally had the family she’d always dreamed of.
“I get up in the morning for my children,” she said. “We are a happy family of four.
“Now I’d like to do something to give back to the Nightingale Ward and the families who depend on the staff there.
“Our target is £1,000. It could go towards toys, equipment, even a coffee machine for the staff.
“It’s a way for us to remember Summer. She was so special.”
The Morrells are set to ascend Ben Nevis, in Scotland, on Saturday, July 20.
The couple wish to thank The Copy and Print Centre who created posters and sponsor forms for their fundraiser free of charge.
To sponsor ‘Summer’s Walk’, click here.